This Article is From Apr 12, 2022

Ukraine War: Here's Why Russia Has Lost So Many Tanks

Russia has faced stiff resistance by the Ukrainian forces in the war that has bene going on for more than a month.

Ukraine War: Here's Why Russia Has Lost So Many Tanks

A number of Russian tanks have been destroyed by Ukrainian forces.

Russian forces have been facing stiff resistance since the day it entered Ukraine more than a month ago. Since Russian forces were numerically superior and had sophisticated weapons, many thought the war will be over within a few days.

But that was not the case. The resistance against Russians kept getting stiffer as they marched towards capital Kyiv, which caused them to lose a lot of weapons and armoury.

Among them are tanks, which Russians have lost in a large number.

How many Russian tanks have been destroyed?

According to information released by Ukrainian armed forces on social media, Russia has lost more than 680 tanks.

Oryx, a military and intelligence blog which keeps a count of Russia's military losses in Ukraine based on photos from the warzone, says the Russian military has lost more than 2,000 armoured vehicles and 460 tanks.

American think tank Rand Corporation, along with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), said in a release that Russia had more than 2,700 tanks before the Ukraine war began.

How has Ukraine been able to destroy so many Russian tanks?

A major part of the success came due to the weapons provided by the western countries, including the United States. The US supplied Ukraine with 2,000 anti-tank Javelin missiles when the conflict began and later sent 2,000 more.

The lightweight but lethal weapon has allowed the soldiers in Ukraine to inflict some serious damage to Russian tanks and artillery.

According to Lockheed Martin, the missile automatically guides itself to the target after launch (“fire and forget” system), allowing the gunner to take cover and avoid counterfire, or load a new missile.

It also has a gentler start, making it difficult for the enemy to see where it was launched from.

The Javelins explode at the top of the tank, where the armour is believed to be the weakest.

Apart from the US, the United Kingdom has sent NLAWs and Starstreak missiles, which has also helped the Ukrainians destroy Russian drones.

The US is now supplying 100 Switchblade anti-tank drones to Ukraine, the BBC reported.

Is this a fault of Russian tactics?

Phillips O'Brien, a professor of strategic studies at St Andrews University, told the BBC, “Some of those tanks were abandoned because they ran out of fuel. That's a logistical failure. Some got stuck in the spring-time mud, because the high command invaded at the wrong time of year.”

"Many tanks have been abandoned because of bad driving. Some have been driven off bridges. Others have been driven into ditches so that the tracks have come off. The ability of the troops to use their equipment has been lacking,” said Nick Reynolds, who works at think tank Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

Moreover, the Ukrainian government itself has been issuing instructions about how to destroy Russian tanks, which is being used by civilians who are taking part in the war.

According to Oryx report, half of the tanks that Russia lost were not destroyed or damaged by the enemy but captured or abandoned.